Catholic churches in Cuba converted into theaters for “The Passion of the Christ”

.- Several parishes in Havana, Cuba, have been temporarily converted into theaters in order to show the movie “The Passion of the Christ,” with the blessing of the Cuban Bishops Conference.

Although many Cubans worried the film would never be shown on the island, St. Rita’s Parish is one of the churches where Catholics are able to view the movie, according to statements made by Fr. José Félix Pérez Riera, secretary of the conference, to the news agency EFE.

Fr. Pérez said the first to see the film will be catechists, married couples and young people, but the idea is to allow everybody to see it before Holy Week, except for those under 14 years of age.

According to Fr. Pérez, the movie “can contribute to serious spiritual reflection, and even to a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, who sustains our faith and hope.”  The film “reflects the suffering of Christ when he carries the cross and the experience of humiliation and condemnation,” and for this reason, he added, in the controversy surrounding the film “there is a certain hypocrisy in the commentaries and criticisms that claim it is too violent.”

Fr. Pérez says the movie shows “a violence that is in response to a reality” and that “it is not a violence that leads to more violence but rather totally the opposite.  What it leads to is love and forgiveness by anyone who is a victim of cruelty.  [Jesus] asks for forgiveness for His executioners and He forgives them from His heart.”

”I find the criticism of the violence to be quite a contradiction and some cases hypocritical since these same people who claim it to be excessively violent do not speak out about other films that include gratuitous violence that is used as a marketing device,” he said.

 “I think the violence shown in the film is not a question of blood but of the realism of suffering, something deeper and more intense that physical pain,” he added.

Fr. Pérez said the movie will soon be shown in other parts of Cuba as well.

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